Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Investigating the Cubic Metre!

To continue exploring our central idea into volume and capacity:

We begin our maths learning with a whole class provocation to challenge and/or extend their conceptual understandings and then for the rest of the maths learning we are in groups rotating different hands on activities designed to meet their wonderings they have shared they are curious to find out about ( Link to pre-assessment and wonderings generated )

Today we used the key concept-

CONNECTION: What other things does the cubic centimetre connect with?

We used the think-pair-share strategy brainstorming ideas and became curious of how big a cubic metre really is.

So, we built one:

Knowing that later in our unit we would be using cubic metres, it is important that children can visualise that amount of space.

Looking at the cubic metre, a student suggested we should see what it's capacity is with us students.

Such a great idea!

We made predictions of how many of us could fit inside it:

......and then we worked out strategies collaboratively of how to fit the most students inside:

I stood back saying nothing. Why should I rob them of this rich problem solving activity?

Who should be in the corners?

Who should be on the bottom?

Who could squeeze on top of everyone and not have their arms or head sticking out?

The first attempt we managed 12 students!

But then, one of us holding the cubic metre together explained someone's leg was sticking out so we ought to try again.

So, we did- new strategies were tested.

The second try we managed to fit 10 students inside.

Less students, but all completely inside the cubic metre.

After this, we brainstormed things people might use a cubic metre in real life.

One student shared how she remembered her parents had to think of cubic metres when shipping their belongings to Switzerland. The removalists charged per cubic metre!

Perhaps when factories cargo things they use cubic metres?

Someone then wondered: How many cubic centimetres would equal 1 cubic metre?

A great wondering.  We looked at a cubic centimetre and made predictions.  We have kept our predictions displayed and when each group has time to investigate they will see how close their prediction was. 

Someone then wondered:   How many cubic metres is our classroom?

We liked this idea and so that is now placed on our rotation group activity list.

Another student suggested we should make our cubic metre permanent so it will help us to visualise when estimating and then measuring the volume of our classroom.

Another great idea!

So a few of us made it more 'permanent' for future reference:

(Note: by the end of the day it was more like the Leaning Cubic Metre of Lausanne, but hopefully it will survive a few days.  Some good problem solving strategies were used in creating it- tape verses blu tack, adding rulers in the middle and top to give it strength, build the base and the top first and then tape to the standing rulers)

When the groups started their hands on activities, one group wanted to enquire into this first.  

They got really involved in their investigation into how many cubic cm in 1 cubic metre.

They took their learning further by trying to work out how many cubic mm in 1 cubic cm and then how many cubic mm in 1 cubic metre!

Their curiosity didn't stop there though. They then investigated cubic nano-centimetres and cubic micro-centimetres to convert with our volume units!!

In google searching, one student read that our finger nails grow 1 cubic nano-centimetre by the time we read this sentence!

This interesting and engaging enquiries just don't happen if we try to control the maths learning in our classrooms so much.  

By taking steps back, guiding students in how to ask deep questions throughout the year and valuing their time to find out, fabulous enquiries like these emerge.

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